First Day of Sharad Navratri in India
The First Day of Sharad Navratri is an auspicious and widely celebrated festival in India. Also known as Sharad Navaratri, the festival marks the beginning of the nine-day celebration in honor of the Hindu Goddess Durga.
The First Day of Sharad Navratri typically falls in the month of September or October, depending on the lunar calendar. The festival begins on the first day of the Hindu lunar month of Ashwin, which usually coincides with the Gregorian calendar's September-October period. This year, the First Day of Sharad Navratri will be celebrated on October 7th.
The celebration of Sharad Navratri in India dates back to ancient times, with its roots in Hindu mythology. The festival commemorates the victory of Goddess Durga over the demon king Mahishasura, symbolizing the triumph of good over evil. According to the legend, Mahishasura had acquired immense power and was causing havoc in the world, leading to the Gods seeking help from Goddess Durga. The nine-day festival represents the nine forms of Goddess Durga, with each day dedicated to one of her avatars.
National customs for the First Day of Sharad Navratri in India
On the First Day of Sharad Navratri, also known as Pratipada, devotees across India partake in various customs and rituals to worship and honor Goddess Durga. One of the most significant rituals is the Ghatasthapana, which involves installing a Kalash or sacred pot filled with water, covered with cow dung, and sown with barley seeds. This ritual symbolizes the invocation of Goddess Durga, and the pot is worshipped for the entire duration of the festival.
Devotees also observe fasting and perform special prayers known as 'Aarti' during the festival. Temples dedicated to Goddess Durga are adorned with beautiful decorations, and devotees throng these temples to offer their prayers. Cultural programs and performances, such as dance and music events, are also organized during the festival to showcase the rich heritage and traditions of India.
Local customs for the First Day of Sharad Navratri in India
While the national customs are observed throughout the country, some regions have their unique ways of celebrating the First Day of Sharad Navratri. In the state of Gujarat, the famous Garba dance is performed during the festival, where men and women dance in circular formations to the beats of traditional music. In West Bengal, the festival is celebrated as Durga Puja, and magnificent idols of Goddess Durga are installed in elaborate pandals (temporary structures) for public display and worship.
In the southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh, the festival is observed as Golu or Kolu, where families display dolls and figurines depicting various mythological and cultural themes. The northeastern state of Assam celebrates the festival as Bihu, with a focus on agricultural activities and feasting.
The First Day of Sharad Navratri in India is a vibrant and spiritually significant festival that unites the country in the worship of Goddess Durga. With a rich history and diverse customs, the festival showcases the incredible cultural diversity of India and the deep-rooted devotion of its people.